Mobile growth slows down in Bangladesh

The growth in the number of mobile subscribers slowed down in October as the country’s six
operators added only 4.23 lakh subscribers, while Grameenphone, the leading operator,
lost 1.67 lakh subscribers.

The total number of active mobile subscribers increased to 65.56 million or around 6.56
crore at the end of October from 6.514 crore in September, according to data of the
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission released on Tuesday.

Although the number of active subscribers increased by 4.23 lakh in October, the Grameenphone’s
subscriber base decreased by 1.67 lakh last month. The six operators had netted 10 lakh subscribers
in October 2009.

The number of subscribers increased by 16.70 lakh in September, 16.30 lakh in August and
18.60 lakh in July. There were 6.35 crore subscribers in August and 6.18 crore in July.

An official of the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh could not tell New
Age on Tuesday the reasons behind the slowing down of the growth of the number of mobile
subscribers in October.

The total number of Grameenphone’s subscribers increased to around 2.848 crore at the end
of October from 2.865 crore in September.

An official of the BTRC said that the calculation of the number of mobile subscribers was
based on the connections that were active.

He said that the Grameenphone had lost active subscribers as many of the clients might have
switched off their SIMs or shifted to other operators.

Grameenphone added 7.32 lakh subscribers in September and 6.46 lakh in August.

BTRC chairman Zia Ahmed told New Age that it was not ‘unusual’ that the growth of mobile
phone subscribers slowed down in October. ‘It is a normal thing. There will be ups and down. I think the operators could not add more subscriber in October because of Eid-ul-Azha as people spent more for festivals,’ he said.

Zia said that the subscribers’ growth would pick up as operators were coming with new
packages.

The subscriber base of Banglalink, the second largest operator, reached 1.84 crore at the
end of the month as it had added 3.01 lakh subscribers last month.

Warid Telecom, 70 per cent of whose stake was acquired by Indian Bharti Airtel, added
85,000 subscribers in October and its subscriber base reached 36.67 lakh.

State-run Teletalk added 41,000 subscribers in October and its subscriber base increased to
12.24 lakh.

Robi, the third largest operator, added 1.38 lakh subscribers to take its subscriber base
to 1.18 crore.

The total number of subscribers of the lone CDMA operator, City Cell, reached 19.33 lakh
after it added 26,000 subscribers in October.

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